The Eastern Michigan University volleyball team headed to Kent, Ohio, on Sat. Nov. 16, with a Mid-American Conference Championship tournament spot on the line. The Eagles defeated the Kent State University Golden Flashes three sets to one.
For the Eagles (16-15, 6-10 Mid-American Conference), winning against Kent State (12-17, 6-10 MAC) meant a spot in the MAC Championship tournament and a loss meant the end of their season. After dropping the first set to the Golden Flashes, Eastern won the next three straight (21-25, 25-22, 25-7, 25-15).
“We knew going into the match that if we won, we would get a tourney bid and secure the seventh seed,” EMU coach Kim Berrington said. “Kent State has played well at home this season so we expected them to come out strong and they did. They were on fire digging everything and running their offense effectively. We stayed patient and found our offensive rhythm and played great defense.”
After scoring eight kills against Central Michigan on Thursday, Eagles outside hitter Stacey Perinar hit 17 kills. Setter Jill Briner and middle blocker Katie Krasowski each added 10 kills.
Briner also led the team with 34 assists, and the Eagles scored six aces as a team.
Eastern led the first set midway through, 13-12, before Kent State scored six straight points to take the lead 18-13. The Golden Flashes were able to cruise to a 25-21 set victory. Eastern hit a .083 attack percentage as a team in the opening set.
Eastern was able to take a close second set despite nine errors. Kent State was held to just nine kills in the second set, while Perinar scored seven kills and Briner had four.
Eastern Michigan dominated the third set 25-7. The Eagles held Kent State to the second lowest set score by an opponent this season.
Eastern’s offense was unstoppable in the final set. Briner was 3-for-3 at the net and Perinar scored six kills in the set. Eastern hit .364 as team in the final set.
The Eagles clinched the seventh seed in the MAC tournament this weekend with the victory. EMU will take on the University of Toledo Rockets (19-11, 12-4 MAC) at 5 p.m. on Fri. Nov. 22 in Geneva, Ohio.
The Eagles split the season series against Toledo this season. Eastern beat the Rockets 3-1 on Sept. 28 at the Convocation Center. Toledo defeated Eastern Michigan 3-1 on Nov. 1 in Toledo.
“We are looking forward to going to the MAC tourney,” Berrington said. “We feel like we missed some opportunities to win some matches during the regular MAC season. This gives us another shot.”